by Shanker Nath Fotedar

Chapter II
EARLY LIFE AND SOJOURN AT VARIOUS PLACES

Bhagawaan Ji was born at his ancestral house at Bhana Mohalla, Srinagar, in a room on the ground floor. Though over 75 years have elapsed since the building was constructed, it is in good condition today, and a tower was added to it some years ago. His early childhood was spent in this house. After his father, Pandit Naraayan Joo Bhan, had given up his house and other possessions in favour of his stepmother and when Bhagawan Ji was about ten, the family had to keep shifting to various places. From the etails given by Shrimati Janaki Devi, the latter's younger sister, it appears that the family had to live at the places in Srinagar for the periods noted against each in the table given below:
The house owner's name  The name of the place in Srinagar  The period of stay at the house  Bhagawaan Ji's age at the end of each period  The year (AD) 
1. Pt. Shiva Ji Khyabri  Bhaana Mohalla  1 1/2 years  11 1/2 yr.  1909
2. Pt. Kesho Joo Nagri  Shaalayar  3 years  14 1/2 yr.  1912
3. Pt. Kallash Joo Bhan  Razwerikadal  1 1/2 years  16 years  1913
4. Pt. Prasaad Joo Parimoo  Sekidafar  7 years  23 years  1920
5. Pt. Kesho Joo Dhar  Safa Kadal  3 years  26 years  1923
6. Pt. Dina Nath Botta  Rang-teng  6 years  32 years  1929
7 Pt. Tika Lal  Rang-teng  7 years  39 years  1936
8. Pt. Nila Koul Saraf  Dalhasanyaar  10 years  49 years  1946
9. Pt. Madhava Joo Sathu  Rishi Mohalla  10 years  59 years  1956
10. Pt. Shyam Lal Malla  Chondapora  11 years  70 years  1968
Bhagawaan Ji lost his mother when the family lived at place No. 2, and he was a boy of about twelve. He lost his father at place No.6 when he was between 26 and 32 years of age.

The earliest employment taken up by him was when he was at place No.3. The employment lasted for about three years. While residing at place Nos. 4 and 5, he ran a kiryaana shop first at Chaidob and then at Sekidaafar, Srinagar.

Shri J.P. Paarimoo says, 'During this period, he used to be the leader of the group he had formed around him. He would organise trips to Kshirbhavaani, Mahaadev and Vichaarang, and play the role of the leader. He was always brave and fearless and hated dishonesty. He was fond of going to saints. One of his close associates says that he used to go to a saintly person named Zanakaak, putting up in the attic of a small one-storeyed hut of one Sat Lal Waangnoo, a bachelor devotee of Zanakaak, at Habba Kadal. This Zanakaak had Krishnakaak as his guru, as mentioned in his Vaakyas. This goes back to the days when Bhagawaan Ji was reading in the 7th or the 8th class. (Source Or information: Pt Dina Nath Shaali, Karan Nagar) There, he used to go for many years, even after the death Or this saint. While at Sekidaafar, he would press the feet Or a 'Jataadhaari' saint, named Swaami Baalak Kaaw, popularly known as Baal Ji. Baal Ji used to give him recognition and consideration. In 1923, the Shaalis and the Paarimoos arranged a pilgrimage to Mattan on Vijaya Saptami. They went by boat to Khanabal. At Khanabal, wherefrom they had to go on foot to Mattan, Bhagawaan Ji, along with one or two associates, left the group, and went to pay respects to the saint Jeewan Saheb living somewhere on that side Or the Valley.

At place No.6, he was busy with his saadhanaa but, occasionally, attended to family matters as well.

It was at place No. 7 that he renounced everything. This was the period of his intense saadhanaa which continued to the time that he gave up the gross body.

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